Researcher, Te Papa

Vincent Zintzen
Vincent Zintzen

Vincent Zintzen is a Belgian scientist with interest in macro-ecology and taxonomy. After doing his PhD on the fauna of artificial hard structures (shipwrecks) in the North Sea, he moved to New Zealand in 2008 to join Te Papa Museum’s fish team.

He is now in charge of a project which studies the interaction of depth and latitude on the biodiversity of fishes. This work involves a lot of video deployments at depth ranging from 50 to 2000m. Take a look at some of our video footage here

What do you hope to achieve on this expedition to the Three Kings?

Do you know that a trained scientist can only see half of the fish diversity of an area when he is diving? Thanks to the different sampling technique we will be using, I hope that we will significantly increase our knowledge on the fish fauna that lives in the Three Kings Islands. We will also work on collecting data to assess the trophic structure of this place, basically trying to answer this simple question: who is eating who?

What skills are you bringing to the team?

Our Te Papa team has a strong background in taxonomy and collecting fishes in all sorts of conditions. I have personally been diving in many waters around the world and have a lot of experience working underwater. I will help with collecting, identifying and processing the fish specimens we will collect. I am also a keen underwater photographer.

When you’re not on an expedition what does a “day at work” look like for you?

There is so much to do to get ready for an expedition, and even more work to process the data collected at sea! I have to prepare all the logistic for the sampling campaigns of my project which involves lots of video deployments as deep as 2000m. Then, once we are back from fieldwork, I review the video we collected using special software. Always fascinating because we make lots of new discoveries. Finally, to share the new knowledge with the public and scientific community, I disseminate those findings through exhibitions or scientific papers. I am never bored at work!